Starring Oscar® nominee Queen Latifah (Chicago) in the title role,  the HBO Original Film BESSIE focuses on legendary blues singer Bessie Smith’s transformation from a struggling young singer into “The Empress of the Blues,” one of the most successful recording artists of the 1920s and an enduring icon today.

The film also stars Michael Kenneth Williams (HBO's BOARDWALK EMPIRE) as Bessie’s husband, Jack Gee; Khandi Alexander (HBO's TREME) as Bessie’s older sister, Viola; Tory Kittles (STEEL MAGNOLIAS) as Bessie’s older brother, Clarence; Mike Epps (The Hangover Part III) as Richard, a bootlegger and romantic interest; Tika Sumpter (THE HAVE AND HAVE NOTS) as Lucille, a performer and romantic interest; Oliver Platt (FARGO) as famed photographer and writer Carl Van Vechten; Bryan Greenberg (HBO's HOW TO MAKE IT IN AMERICA) as renowned record producer and music critic John Hammond; with Charles S. Dutton (LONGMIRE) as Ma Rainey’s husband, William “Pa” Rainey; and Oscar winner Mo’Nique (Precious) as blues legend Ma Rainey.

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